Some albums are immediate while others take a little longer to work their way into your subconscious. Blues rockers Kamchatka fell into the later category as, on first listen, I enjoyed ‘Long Road Made Of Gold’ but it was in a pile of stuff (If you can have such a thing as a digital pile) that was competing for my attention. I’ve learnt over the years that the immediate album can burn out and fade away very quickly while the slow grower can stay with you for many years. This may well turn out to be the case as I find myself returning to the album on a regular basis, hence this belated review.
‘Long Road Made Of Gold’’ is the sixth full length album from Kamchatka in a career that dates back over a decade. The Swedish power trio comprises Thomas ‘Juneor’ Andersson (guitar / vocals), Tobias Strandvik (drums) and bassist (Per Wilberg). Wilberg is best known for his time playing keyboards for Metal act Opeth alongside stints in Spiritual Beggars and Candlemass which is pretty amazing as his bass work here is superb and very much an integral part of the Kamchatka sound. A rock trio will always require the rhythm section to stretch out and fill the sound when the guitarist takes a solo, if not; the result is empty dead air. Sonically the band draws on a range of influences with obvious power trio comparisons to Cream and The Jimi Hendrix Experience but mould this with a range of progressive and stoner influences. This range of influences found the band touring with highly respected blues / stoner act Clutch in Europe and the USA.
Opener ‘Take Me Back Home’ throws the listener for an immediate loop with a banjo intro that leads into a heavy, intricate progressive blues workout blessed with a solid bottom end that brings to mind prime early Kings X. The complex ‘Made Of Gold’ is another winner with inventive musical dexterity as the song shifts 360 degrees for the solo section. The importance of the rhythm section I mentioned earlier is highlighted on ‘Rain’ where Wilberg steps up to double Andersson as the guitarist takes an extended solo. The quality of the musicianship might be lost without the clear warm production which was mixed and mastered by Russ Russell better known for extreme metal acts such as Napalm Death.
The band seem equally happy with the infectiously catchy, both lyrically and musically, ‘Get Your Game On’ which was chosen as the first single from the album with its driving rhythm and short but sweet solo from Andersson. ‘Long Road’ shows yet another side of the band as Andersson adds slide guitar to the mix over rock solid, tribal drums from Strandvik with more than a little amusement to be had with the use of percussion.
Kamchatka strove to make a record that owed much to their musical influences but was relevant in 2015 and with ‘Long Road Made Of Gold’ they have succeeded.